For those that are complaining they have no work-life balance, it may be time to pack up your belongings and move to New Zealand. A new study indicates that people who work four days instead of the normal five-day work week are just as productive even though they are working fewer hours.
One New Zealand firm has decided to run a trial over two months that saw their employees work four days a week while still receiving the same amount of income they would receive for their normal five-day work week, according to The Guardian.
This trial was implemented by Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes, in the hopes that his staff could better maintain a work-life balance.
“If you can have parents spending more time with their children, how is that a bad thing?” asked Barnes.
“Are you likely to get fewer mental health issues when you have more time to take care of yourself and your personal interests? Probably… if you have fewer people in the office at any one time, can we make smaller offices?”
According to the study, 240 staff at Perpetual Guardian were offered the chance to work four eight-hour days but still get paid as if they were working five eight-hour days. The landmark trial ran during March and April, with academics studying the trial “before, during, and after its implementation, collecting qualitative and quantitative data.”
As a result of the study, it has been discovered that 78 percent of employees felt they were able to “successfully manage their work-life balance.” This was an increase of 24 percent from last November when they were asked about their work-life balance prior to the trial. In addition, staff stress levels decreased by 7 percent.
Jarrod Haar, professor of human resource management at Auckland University of Technology, found that employees performed better in their jobs and were happier at home as a result of the shorter work week.
New Zealand’s workplace relations minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, also found the results of the trial “very interesting.”
“I’m really keen to work with any businesses that are looking at how they can be more flexible for their staff and how they can look to improve productivity whilst working alongside their staff and protecting terms and conditions.”
While the study has shown promising results, Andrew Barnes is yet to implement the four-day work week permanently at Perpetual Guardian, a firm that manages trusts, wills, and estate planning. However, Barnes is keen to open up a dialogue between himself and employees over how it could be implemented permanently.